Investigators Monitor the Safety of Anti-Obesity Medications

They are attempting to determine the associations and connections to further benefit individuals using the therapies.

Investigators aimed to monitor the safety of anti-obesity medications and determine associations and connections to further benefit individuals who are undergoing anti-obesity therapies.

A unique finding of the study was that the deaths represented 4% of all adverse events attributed to orlistat, an OTC medication, which is the only anti-obesity drug available without a prescription.

“It is necessary to continue and systematically monitor the safety of anti-obesity medications to optimize patient anti-obesity therapy,” Abdulrahman Alsuhibani, a doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati's James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, said in a statement. “Observational studies do not show causality; however, it shows the hypothesis of using real-world data to try to show some connections and association.”

In addition, the study led to the removal of lorcaserin from the market, but the information regarding this has not been fully disclosed. About 16% of all reported adverse events (AEs) attributed to lorcaserin use were reports of cancer.

The results of the study showed 4.9% of the reported AEs were deaths of an individuals, with 7.6% listed as life-threatening events, 35% requiring hospitalization, and 5.9% as disability cases.

The most common AEs reported were dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting. There were also 1765 reports of cardiovascular disease, 1327 of kidney complications, and 194 of cancer.

Within the 7-year span, there were more than 18,000 unique AEs reported from more than 15,000 individuals who were taking anti-obesity medications.

Investigators reviewed data from the FDA’s Adverse Reporting system from 2013 to 2020, where individuals, physicians, and other health care providers can submit any suspected AEs of an anti-obesity medication.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy.

Reference

Study examines adverse effects of obesity medications. EurekAlert. News release. November 12, 2021. Accessed November 12, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/934709